GRAHAM — Several dozen relatives and community members gathered Tuesday for a candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of the killings of two young boys, Charlie and Braden Powell.
They were killed by their father, Josh Powell, who also killed himself and blew up a house during a parental visit while a social worker was locked outside.
Powell was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell in 2009 in Utah. Her parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, are asking the Washington Legislature to keep parents who are murder suspects from visiting children.
Following a prayer and a period of silence at the spot where Josh Powell’s rental house once stood, Chuck Cox thanked those in attendance. He endorsed neighbors’ plans to raise money to turn the vacant lot into a park or other gathering place “to bring happiness to the neighborhood.”
Judy Cox said she thought the boys “would be excited about this, to know they are remembered.”
The gathering took place near two crosses erected in memory of Charlie and Braden and painted purple, their mother’s favorite color.
Following the formal portion of the Graham vigil, 7-year-old Dakota Gordon, a cousin of the boys, lingered for nearly five minutes at the crosses, staring at each name and touching two toys that belonged to them.
A similar vigil took place Tuesday in West Valley City, Utah.
Earlier in the day, Chuck and Judy Cox visited Charlie and Braden’s gravesite in Washington state, along with Susan’s sister Denise Cox and her fiancé Andrew Olsen. They placed flowers on the grave and sat around a statue that was erected on the hill overlooking the grave to serve as a place for people to gather in memory.